Home > Book Reviews > Review: Starship: Pirate by Mike Resnick

Review: Starship: Pirate by Mike Resnick

After having been sprung from a detention center awaiting wrongful judgment in Mutiny, Wilson Cole takes the renegade crew of the Theodore Roosevelt into the outer frontier of the galaxy to avoid recapture by the Republic.  Out in the fringes, he must decide how the ship is to operate and decides that piracy might just be the ticket.

But first, they must decide what kind of pirates they should be.   Should they prey on small colony worlds?  On medical vessels shipping vaccines to needy worlds?  On rich cruiser lines guarded by other ships?  Cole must design a pirate’s code for the Teddy R so that they still remain somewhat ethical in this illegal trade.

Next, Cole must determine how to creatively operate as a pirate, since the crew quickly discovers that it’s nothing like the holos or books they’ve read.  For starters, a fence will only offer 3-5% of the value of stolen goods, which means that the crime really doesn’t pay very well.  His idea:  after “obtaining” some valuable items, act as treasure hunters and negotiate with the insurance companies for a much larger “finder’s fee”.  It works, sort of.

Soon, Cole meets a former pirate, who goes by multiple names depending on her mood and who offers to teach Cole the ropes if he helps her get her ship back.

I really enjoyed how Resnick shows how Captain Cole thinks through his options and develops a code of ethics for piracy.  His approaches to finding his marks, selling goods, and making his getaway are both creative and smart.

I was disappointed, however, in one thing.  Captain Wilson Cole is supposed to be an exemplary leader, but in this volume, he shows very little leadership.  Instead, he himself goes on all missions personally (à la Star Trek), which works to show how quickly he thinks on his feet and how he is able to size up a situation, but does little to show trust in his crew’s abilities.  This tendency began to irritate me more and more.

In addition to the amazonian pirate Val, who has an extremely strong personality in this book, I really enjoyed the alien fence who has adopted the name of David Copperfield.  David is obsessed with the works of Charles Dickens, even dressing as a Victorian dandy.  To get an audience with the fence, Cole (himself a bibliophile) introduces himself as James Steerforth, an old schoolboy chum of the literary character, and is immediately brought into David’s confidence.

It’s clear at the end of the book that piracy really isn’t going to work out for the crew of the Teddy R which sets up the next book in the series perfectly.

The series:

  1. Mutiny
  2. Pirate
  3. Mercenary
  4. Rebel
  5. Flagship

4 1/2 out of 5 stars (finished February 25th, 2011)


Currently reading:  Dark Fire by C.J. Sansom, Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris,  Daggerspell by Katherine Kerr, & Starship:  Mercenary by Mike Resnick

  1. March 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Code of ethics for piracy 🙂

    Thank you for the review! Do drop by to our blog too 🙂

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